Water & Land Solutions is a hybrid ecological restoration and mitigation solutions company.
Water & Land Solutions is dedicated to restoring and protecting our natural resources while providing cost-effective and sustainable mitigation solutions that benefit and contribute to economic growth throughout the United States. We strive to put people first and prioritize personal relationships with our customers, colleagues, and partners.
We are pragmatic optimists who are passionate about ecosystem restoration. We see firsthand the difference our projects make. We understand that economic growth is a necessity, and that growth often includes impacts to our natural resources.
At Water & Land Solutions we know that impact mitigation can occur in conjunction with economic growth. This allows us to leave a permanent imprint on the improvement and protection of the environment and our communities. We believe you will find our expertise, work ethic, and project flexibility distinctive and unparalleled.
The projects we tackle are meaningful, sustainable, and focused on making sure our customers are well served.
We integrate the latest advancements and applied research in natural resource management, water resource engineering, and construction practices.
And, we work with you to understand your vision, bringing our creativity and experience to bear.
We develop commercial, compensatory mitigation banks across most of the United States. These banks provide traditional 404 stream and wetland credits, as well as serving other credit markets such as riparian buffer and nutrients.
Pay for Performance
Pay for Performance is a way for us to provide ecological services to public and private clients with a performance-based pay structure. These projects can be traditional mitigation credits through a full-delivery model.
At WLS, we recognize client’s needs are unique and projects are not always suited to a one size fits all classification. Our tailored solutions provide flexible and creative project services customized to meet your exclusive needs.
WLS has responded to, and been selected for, multiple private bank contracts with NCDOT across the state through a competitive bid process. They have delivered stream and wetland bank credits that will be used for compensatory mitigation for NCDOT roadway projects over the next several years.
Knowing WLS understands the ever-evolving regulations and the technical site conditions makes a huge difference in our interest level of working with the team at WLS. As new relationships need fostering in land owners, developers, homeowner associations and local municipalities, it’s even more important to us that who we partner with can meander the mine fields of the process delicately and diligently.
Unique Places to Save is a conservation non-profit that works with mitigation company partners, landowners and regulators to hold perpetual conservation easements over stream, wetland and species mitigation projects. We have worked with WLS on numerous mitigation banks in North Carolina. We enjoy working with WLS due to their superior level of professionalism and high standards of quality work on all their projects. WLS not only understands the science and economics of mitigation work, but also understands the needs and concerns of landowners, partners and local communities when conducting their mitigation practice.
Working with Water and Land Solutions has been a great way to help improve aquatic habitat on our properties while stabilizing the streambanks and creating an overall better ecosystem and a multitude educational opportunities for visitors. The diversity and complexity built into the enhancements designed by Water and Land Solutions and their staff are only surpassed by the sustainability of the final stream system once it has been restored.
I met Nate in 2010 while working on the Crabapple stream and wetland mitigation project. We have worked together on several successful projects throughout the Appalachian Region since then. If I had to choose one word to best describe Nate, it’s trustworthy. I trust him as a friend, a colleague, and a stream designer, and would recommend him to anyone.
North State Environmental had the opportunity to work with WLS on two great projects in 2020 that had tight timelines, as many mitigation projects do. Our staff worked closely together to expedite construction, ensuring that both were completed in time to be planted during the dormant season. Even though the weather and field adjustments attempted to slow down the construction, the NSE crews and WLS staff worked to overcome these issues and build successful projects.
As our customer, you are a vital component of our business, and we view you as an extension of the WLS family.
Whether you’re a developer, a permittee, or a consultant, you have your own set of needs and objectives that must be met. We provide cost-effective, well managed mitigation solutions executed in a timely manner.
At WLS, landowners are the critical stakeholder and a crucial component to successful ecological restoration.
Without landowner participation, the mitigation industry would not flourish. As landowners ourselves, we understand your land is an important asset and often the foundation of your family history. We want to understand your long-term vision. We’ll work with you respectfully to increase your property value and protect your asset.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a mitigation bank and how does it work?
A mitigation bank typically consists of tracts of land where a mitigation bank sponsor has established, restored, enhanced, or preserved wetlands, streams, and/or species habitat to provide a mechanism for project developers to offset unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources or species habitat (e.g. compensatory mitigation) permitted and authorized under the Clean Water Act (CWA) or Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Mitigation banks must receive all pertinent permits and are certified and overseen by regulatory agencies including the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), state agencies, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) also referred to as an Interagency Review Team (IRT). The formal certification or agreement between the bank sponsors and regulatory agencies is outlined in a mitigation bank instrument. The instrument establishes and addresses liability, performance standards, monitoring requirements, in perpetuity management/preservation and bank credit release numbers and schedules. The instrument also authorizes the geographic service area of the bank. Once regulatory approval is received, credits are certified and issued to the bank sponsor in stages as performance standards and success criteria are met. These released credits are “banked” and then available for purchase by permittees from the bank sponsor.
What are mitigation bank credits?
Mitigation bank credits are an integral component of a mitigation bank. Credits are defined as a verified ecological unit of uplift (or improvement) that results from the establishment, restoration, and/or enhancement of degraded streams, wetlands, riparian buffers, or species habitat. Depending on resource conditions and regulatory acceptance, small numbers of credits may be generated through preservation of non-degraded resources.
What is the difference between mitigation banks, in-lieu fee programs, and permittee responsible mitigation?
The difference between the three types of mitigation lies with the entity responsible for credit or mitigation generation coupled with financial risk and liability associated with mitigation performance. No matter the mitigation provider, each party is responsible for land acquisition, restoration design, permitting, short- and long-term maintenance and monitoring, financial assurances, and conservation encumbrances.
Mitigation banks are developed by third party mitigation providers that provides its own capital sources to fund and complete restoration in a watershed in advance of development. Purchase of credits from a mitigation bank give permittees a cost-effective and risk/liability free solution as mitigation bankers assume all risk of mitigation success.
In-lieu fee programs are established by a state or non-profit organization. In-lieu fee programs are issued advanced mitigation credits (prior to restoration) and these credit sales produce the revenue for ILFs to fund restoration projects after an impact has occurred.
Permittee responsible mitigation is mitigation that is completed at an on-site or off-site location within the same watershed as the impacts by an individual permittee. No credit is generated with this option. Instead, acceptable mitigation offsets and restoration is calculated during the permitting process and the permittee is responsible for mitigation success along with liability, risk, and financials associated with mitigation.
Does purchasing mitigation bank credits allow project developers to impact natural resources without regulatory checks and balances?
One of the most common misconceptions people have with mitigation banking is that it allows project developers to impact natural resources with no regulatory checks, balances, or consequences. That is simply not the case. Mitigation banks provide a streamlined and cost effect mechanism for permittees to fulfill their mitigation requirements through federal and state permit guidelines. Any permittee that wants to utilize banks or purchase credits would first need to receive all necessary federal and state permits prior to utilizing credit purchases. All permittees must demonstrate and meet avoidance and minimization of project impacts prior to the purchase of mitigation bank credits and subsequent permit approval through the applicable regulatory agencies.